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Florida Gulf Coast University

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Whitaker Center

Faculty Support & University Reform


The Center provides a wide variety of assistance to university faculty with an interest in improving undergraduate and graduate education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The following services are available to interested faculty:

Professional Development Workshops (includes SPARCT - see below) 
Cross-Discipline and Cross-College Collaborative Seminars
Professional Travel

Outreach projects:  SRO, STEM Institute

Current Projects

NSF-WIDER:  STEM Professional Academy for Reinvigorating the Culture of Teaching (SPARCT)

The Whitaker Center was recently awarded a Widening Implementation & Demonstration of Evidence-Based Reforms (WIDER) award from the National Science Foundation that provides summer salary to STEM faculty teaching introductory STEM courses at Florida Gulf Coast University to train in evidence-based practices and course design. By participating in SPARCT, faculty will gain skills to guide principles for change in STEM instruction.  SPARCT is designed to combine content experts with educational experts to strengthen pedagogical understanding and serve as a model program for other universities.  Check our SPARCT program tab for more information about SPARCT and the 2015 application.

GEMS - Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science

Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science is a Saturday morning program for middle-school girls. This hands-on programming is dedicated to STEM education. GEMS provides girls with a girl-only environment to enjoy and explore the wonders of space science and engineering. 

This program is currently being led by Dr. Zanna Beharry and funded by a grant from the Florida Space Grant Consortium. 

Check out our GEMS page for more information.

Past Projects and Grants

  • Participating in Project FIRST an NSF sponsored, national, professional development project
  • Supporting the development of an undergraduate secondary education degree with concentrations in science and mathematics
  • Hosting regular cross-college seminars to explore and share practices in teaching science, engineering and mathematics
  • Funding from an NSF Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) grant that has purchased science research equipment that supports active inquiry learning in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education